Gamification for Healthy Behaviors
“It’s not the technology, it’s the psychology”
Anyone that has ever been on a diet or has worked on creating healthy lifestyle habits can tell you that changing behavior is not easy. The path to success usually involves positive reinforcement from within and others. Negative behaviors from within or others can easily keep us from achieving our goals. This human behavior also applies to “Motivational Design”, as in the use of “Gamification” to help guide players through desired behaviors to achieve goals.
It’s not the technology, it’s the psychology
Gamification combined with Design Thinking can help us think differently about innovation. Leveraging this process with Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) provides new levels of engagement for supporting desired behaviors. The seven phases of design thinking and a video about teaching design thinking through gamification are available here, “Design Thinking Gamification for Accelerating Innovation“.
Beyond Gamification of Healthy Behaviors
Gartner predicts that by 2015, more than 50% of organizations that manage innovation processes will Gamify those processes, “The Gamification of Innovation in the Enterprise“. Gartner also added Gamification in their 2011 Technology Hype Cycle report. Gamification does have a lot of hype, but can also be used for good.
Robert Scoble recorded an amazing interview with keas‘ Adam Bosworth that goes beyond Gamification for healthy behaviors. Adam candidly talks about the jagged rocks of failure scattered along the curves on the road to success. He also mentions numerous stats and facts, this within itself shows the value of understanding your audience and measuring what is important. There are a LIFETIME of lessons packed in this 41 minute video.
- “Never start a web project as a platform problem”
- “What are we really trying to do?”
- “It’s not the technology, it’s the psychology”
Powerful Persuasive Points
- Help Solve Real Problems
- Positive Reinforcement is Powerful
- Make. Measure. Modify.
- Surface Specific Steps
- Think People Over Technology
- Seek First to Understand
- Practice Persuasive Design
- Group Size Affects Engagement
How Gamification of Health Works
Twitter Gamification Gameboard
Gamification and the art of Motivational Design are complex topics, but there are many smart people and organizations willing to help. Here are several people and organizations on Twitter that are focused on Gamification, Game Mechanics, and Game Theory for engagement on this Twitter Gamification Gameboard. People can also connect with others by following this Gamification Twitter List.
Creating Persuasive Experiences
Adam Bosworth talks about creating persuasive technology during the process of creating keas in his video interview. Persuasive Technology is broadly defined as technology that is designed to change attitudes or behaviors of the users through persuasion and social influence, but not through coercion (Fogg 2002). Such technologies are regularly used in sales, diplomacy, politics, religion, military training, public health, and management, and may potentially be used in any area of human-human or human-computer interaction.
Here are a few resources for developing a strategy on creating persuasive experiences.
Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab: By empowering millions of people to create persuasive experiences with technology, we will have thousands, and perhaps millions, of forces working toward the better in the world.
Stanford Behavior Design: The best design solutions today change human behavior. Yet despite decades of research, challenges remain for people who design to influence. First, “persuasion” seems a dirty word. It shouldn’t be. We should now embrace that we’re in the business of behavior change. Next problem: conceptual confusion. The landscape of persuasion can be disorienting, muddied by impractical theories and over-hyped techniques. Our new work provides a clear view of behavior change, including language that is simple yet accurate.
Stanford Game Theory: Game theory is the study of the ways in which strategic interactions among economic agents produce outcomes with respect to the preferences (or utilities) of those agents, where the outcomes in question might have been intended by none of the agents.
The Gamification Summit NYC is the must-attend event that shows you how to use the power of games to create breakthrough engagement with your customers and employees. Companies like Gilt Groupe, Google, Microsoft, NBC/Universal, MTV, Recyclebank and Aetna have leveraged gamification to transform their businesses, and will share startling insights, statistics and hands-on workshops at GSummit NYC.